It’s not a secret. Pittsburgh is an incredible food town. Crowned Zagat’s top food of 2015, I was excited to see what Pittsburgh had to offer. It did not disappoint.
TL;DR version of the article:
- I Joined Tepper’s MBA Culinary Club
- Went with the club on a (free) food tour
- Visited 8 foodie destinations in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District
Tepper MBA’s + Pittsburgh’s Food Scene
At the heart of the Steel City food scene is the Strip District, an old rail hub on the Allegheny River that is now home to specialty grocers, top-tier restaurants and quirky street food. Hungry to explore – I joined the Tepper Culinary Club in a delicious break from Mini-1 classes. The trek was free for members and proved to be a tasty way to get to know my classmates better.
Stop 1: Peace, Love & Little Donuts
To start – the Culinary Club gathered in the second-floor space of Peace, Love & Little Donuts. The name here is pretty self-explanatory, as we huddled together around boxes of “mini” donuts. What’s really special about this spot is the variety. From traditional glazed to Lucky Charms inspired flavors – there was something amazing to tempt anyone’s taste buds.
Stop 2: Chicken Latino
After breakfast, we went directly to lunch! Walking past the very trendy Smallman Galley and Pittsburgh Favorite – Pamela’s Diner, we stepped across the street and entered Chicken Latino – a Peruvian chicken joint. Here, we were seated around 2 tables and had some space to stretch out, enjoying deliciously tender chicken. Close your eyes and you’re in Lima.
Stop 3: Let’s Taco Bout It
Around the corner from Chicken Latino is La Palapa, a taco stand that is an absolute must. Feeling (slightly) full already, we were treated to one of Pittsburgh’s best tacos. The only disappointment? They were sold out of pork belly… guess I’ll just have to go back.
Stop 4: Take Me To The Candy Shop
What washes down tacos? Candy. And lots of it. We stopped into Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop – a Halloween Dream with an UNBELIEVABLE assortment of candy and homemade fudge. The highlight for me was stumbling across Big League Chew – bubble gum from my little days I thought they’d stopped making years ago. Way to go, Grandpa Joe.
Stop 5: S&D Polish Deli
Pierogi? Yes, Please. After stocking up on candy we stumbled into S&D Polish Deli, a neighborhood favorite slicing up brats and serving fresh perogies daily. S&D doesn’t just make one pierogi – they have 15 different (delicious) flavors that just melt in your mouth. S&D is also a legitimate Polish grocer. I’ll be back for some Kielbasa, for sure.
Stop 6: Lotus Food Company
With full stomachs – the club trekked to Lotus Food Company – Pittsburgh’s largest Asian Grocer. The store had a robust assortment of noodles, rice, fish, sauces and other delights. While certain staples of Chinese cuisine might not be found in Shadyside – there was no shortage of rare/hard to find ingredients at Lotus. Parched from the day, we picked up some juice boxes. Mmm… Guava!
Stop 7: Street Meat
One of the best parts of the strip district is the street vendors. Lured by the smell of BBQ in the brisk fall air, we followed our noses and made room for some ribs. We chatted with the grillmaster, who had the Steelers game set up on the sidewalk. Ribs + Pigskin make for a perfect fall day.
Stop 8: Enrico Biscotti
All good things must come to an end, and 3 hours after Peace, Love & Little Donuts, the trek culminated at Enrico Biscotti. They make biscotti the old fashioned way, with real butter and real ingredients. Like S&D’s pierogi’s – you could find multiple flavors of Enrico’s Biscotti. I settled on a chocolate peanut butter – and slowly rolled myself back home to Shadyside – where I fell victim to a well-deserved food coma.
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